Virtual. Online. Digital. Webinar.
Ever since the pandemic hit, these words have skyrocketed as companies quickly made the switch to keep their audience engaged and importantly to keep themselves relevant.
Truth be told, how many companies can say they’re truly virtual summit experts? Sure they may have run hundreds of expos, conferences, and summits before but a virtual event is an entirely different ballgame. A guidebook and best practices may have been written at the start, but when was the last time this was questioned? Enter Tim Johnston, Marketing Director, APJ from ON24 to help us “Reimagine the Webinar Basics”.
ON24 are no strangers to online events, they’re the experts, the maestros and why wouldn’t they be? They’ve helped hundreds of companies make the switch from physical to virtual and they’ve generated a huge amount of stats that they’ve kindly agreed to share with our audience. In 2020 alone, over 250,000 ON24 webinars hit the web with some 61 million hours watched by the audience.
You can check out their full benchmark report here, more resources are available at the spotlight.
When you think of webinars, you’re not wrong in just imagining a video of a person talking, some slides, maybe a chat function to engage with other audiences. Tim showed us that this can be so much more. “A webinar is a webinar, it’s so easy to get comfortable but we never revisit format, we just need slides and a speaker and away we go, how can we do things better?” Some of the more inspirational experiences over the past years include:
- The Bar – virtual cocktails, cheese and wine tasting, a bar background where everything was clickable such as a barman you can tip, a jukebox you can select a song.
- The Main Stage – for people who miss physical summits, a stage background with spotlights gives them a chance to escape their home office, bedroom, kitchen.
- Backstage Hangout – Is it a Q&A session? Yes but branded in a different way, once the event ends, invite your audience across for an informal get together.
- Showroom Presentations – Set it up like a showroom, once you enter the webinar it changes the mindset from just a webinar to a branded experience.
- Virtual Campfires – Gather your audience and have them share stories, another way to engage them differently.
And of course, we can’t forget about the audience questions:
Should we do live or recorded webinar sessions? “It’s a balanced approach, we always tried to do a combination of live/on-demand and also a lot of simulive events (recorded session to a live audience). Find what your audience likes and what works for you, don’t forget about on-demand strategy and find a way to reuse, repurpose, re-expose your content to newer audiences”
How do you best utilise the breakout room function? “Breakout rooms are a great opportunity to bring salespeople into a live dialog, we have it on to always make sure a salesperson is available so if someone likes what we’re talking about, the audience can jump straight in and have a more product-centric conversation with us” It’s hard to summarise such an insightful one hour packed full of tips, tricks and stats but here are our top 5:
- The plain text email – Keep it sweet and short, make it personal, it doesn’t have to be fancy.
- Mix it up – Don’t keep sending the same type of email
- The form is critical – Every additional field reduces your total registrations
- Live webinars are great but not all will watch – Remember your strategy for on-demand
- Break the tradition – Revisit your format and don’t be afraid to change
By Matthew Lin.